Time for another book review! I just finished my book for book club and we got together yesterday to discuss it. The pick for this month was “The Art of Asking or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help” by Amanda Palmer. I actually chose the book for this month. I saw it on the list we had brainstormed when we first formed the book club and I was very intrigued. Nate and I had watched a TED talk by Amanda a couple of years ago and I found her so fascinating, I just knew I needed to read her book.
If you’re not familiar with Amanda Palmer, she is an independent music artist. She was part of the group The Dresden Dolls and now has a solo career. She is also married to author Neil Gaiman. She wrote this book to expand on the TED talk she gave a few years ago around the theme of what it means to ask for help and why it can be hard.
I enjoyed the book and found myself wanting to highlight different statements, but obviously it was a library book so that wasn’t possible. Not only does she touch on the theme of what it means to ask for help, she also talks about the desire to be seen. One paragraph that stood out to me was this “all of us come from some place of wanting to be seen, understood, accepted, connected. Every single one of us wants to be believed. Artists are just louder about it.” I thought about this in relation to blogging a little bit. We work hard to write posts, produce content and share our lives, but if someone doesn’t comment on our post, it can be hard to feel like we’re being seen. So, I understand and relate to her statement about how we all just want to be seen.
Another theme she touches on is how it took her a long time to feel real when it came to love. She quotes a few passages from the Velveteen Rabbit. Ultimately she felt she couldn’t accept financial help from her successful husband until she realized that his love made her real and that being real means it’s ok to ask for help. It’s kind of a touching point in the book.
Throughout entire book she shares how she started in the industry, the people she met along the way and experiences she’s had. She is definitely a unique person and I would never do some of the things she has done, but I really appreciated her thoughts on asking and accepting help and why that can be hard, especially for women. It is a definitely a book that will stop and make you think and reflect and I think that’s good sometimes.
My only complaint and caution if you pick up this book, she kind of goes back and forth between present day and her past a bit and you might not be able to figure out where you are in the timeline at times. The other thing is that there are no true “chapters” so to speak, so it can be hard to find a good spot to leave off if you need to walk away. Otherwise as I said, there were so many things she said I wish I could highlight because they really are food for thought. I may have to take some screenshots before this book goes back to the library!
And I’ll leave with a question, are you someone who has trouble asking for and accepting help?